Sunday, September 30, 2012


The world whirls
     and spins
             as the
nothingness on the ground. Collects, sinks, floods, and dies.
With nothing to build up, we hide in          and weep.

stand where
    to     be
and we look up at the sky and curse                                        used to be.
                                                      those                           home
                                                           deep                  our
                                                                places where

                            goes by we
                         rebuild to forget
                         it until the next
                        dark          winds
                        blow           out
                        our             door
and shatter our windows and flatten our walls and make us hide          in the earth.  
                                                                                                                  s                    e.
This                                                        endure                                   we   u             v
        is                                               we            all                        how           r   v   i
            the                                 what                     of                 is
                 cycle                     is                                 our         It
                         we          This                                         lives.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Distraction - A Short

Arguments coming off the train distract me, direct me elsewhere. I wander towards one exit, then another, until the crowd warms me into its constant stream and I drown in it. Constantly going up in the escalator, pushing past the standers on the left to walk on the right, which isn't right. The sound of whistles rush up from the tracks as cars pull in but the wind rushes down into the tunnel, sliding down the escalator belt like a sliding board kid. Breaching the top and squinting like a diver from the depths, I worry about my shoelaces and pant legs. I gingerly step at the right moment over the threshold of the city.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

If I Could Tell You Everything

Underneath your mattress is a letter you wrote to yourself that is the only thing in the world you don't want anyone to see. Every time you read it your eyes tear up and you practice holding it in. Also, in your closet there is an orange plastic briefcase that used to have art supplies in it, but now holds all of the folded notes your friends have passed you over the years (including the one about Tomato Boy).

I wanted to tell you some things, so that perhaps we will never meet. I want us to make up a wholly different person. I think you can do it where I have failed, but you need my help to know a few things.

It isn't cool to say nasty things like "thank you captain obvious" and "duh" and "you think I care?" Someday you will have alienated people by saying these witty remarks in jest. And you will wonder why you were ever so mean.

The people who will be your friends for your whole life are sitting right in front of you. However, who you are close with will change. People will come and go. Those who make an effort to stay friends with you (and who you make an effort to spend time with) are true friends.

When you learn to drive, don't lose the nervous feeling you get every time your turn isn't wide enough or you blow through a stop sign. Pay special attention to left turns. The lights will get you every time, so always look for the green arrow first. When you eventually get one, don't use your cell phone in the car. Eventually they'll make a law, but it's better not to start. That way you won't rely on it.

Do not pick a major. Plan to study abroad. Live at home. Stop making lists of assignments and spend more time at the top of the football stadium screaming to people how bad they are at boardgames. Practice jumping over people. Don't ever stop moving. Do cartwheels in the street, ride piggy back, and run. Oh, run everywhere. And not with poster board in your hand or trying to protect your portfolio from the rain. Run so you can squeal when someone catches you, so that you can dart back and forth so no one can. Smile big and bright and then lay on the floor and belly laugh.

Date. Don't fall in love. Tell your friends whether or not you approve of their choice in boyfriends. Try and remain objective. Explore. Yourself and what you like. Don't join a sorority. Don't drink in bars.

Spend a lot of time in hugs. Enjoy being lifted. Spun around. Don't ignore the looks in their eyes, it tells you so much about how they feel. Tell them everything. no censors. If they can't handle it, oh well. Before it's so late you can't tell them, tell them.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


The confused feeling of waking up: The brain is ready for the day on one side, on the other it tricks you into closing your eyes again until the music starts playing. Later you will claim your body was still tired.

When the music plays: The only CD you still listen to. No one plays CDs anymore except in the car. You listen to iTunes or the radio. This is your one CD. It's a mix a friend gave you, the soundtrack to "Garden State." Periodically you change the song around so it doesn't start playing in your dreams. However, the grating sound of the CD starting to spin is usually what drives you to get up. Because seriously no one wants to listen to that sound. You never get past the first couple bars, no words ever play.

First thoughts: Why didn't I get up when I woke up before? I would feel so much better right now. Gotta do this and this and such. Wander into the bathroom. Careful don't forget your towel.

Variations: Perhaps I'll get dressed in the bathroom today. No but my lotion is in my room. But then I need two towels, one for my hair. Otherwise the wet hair feeling sticking to my back feeling will suck. Maybe I can sneak into my room without anyone seeing me? Yes.

Sneaking: Carefully open the door after turning the light and fan off and gathering hair in towel. Glance out and around the corner. Adjust the towel to listen for noises. One is snoring...check. One is talking to the cats...check. Quickly maneuver out, open the bedroom door, and slip into the crack before anyone changes positions. Hear the door click and breathe.

Variability: Checking email. Getting breakfast and checking email. Getting dressed to get breakfast. Whether or not I made my lunch the night before. Drying my hair or keeping the towel in for awhile? Eating breakfast while checking email or while making lunch. Either way, spending too much time checking email.

Checking email: Click, click, clickety click. Remember to turn phone on in case someone called or texted during the night. Check personal email. Spam. Check work email. Who wakes up at 4 am? And why do people never seem to sleep? Reply to one, delete erroneous reply-alls, sort into folders. Check Facebook. Notifications of status updates. Check bank account. Never good money there. Check the clock. Oh shit.

Remembering the little things: Dry hair, brush teeth. Get lunch from fridge. Fill water bottle. Phone. Phone, phone, phone. computer cord. Lock the door. Have to say good morning. Put on sunglasses. Turn the key in the wrong direction. Then the right one.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Constant Ear Pain

Words are very important to me. Language means much to me. I often forget to think about my words beforehand, but I try very hard. There are some words I never use. There are some words that offend me, even when said in jest. I am going to list these words and explain why I don't like them. I'd like to dedicate this post to my 11th and 12th grade students, and to the younger kids they influence every day.


Unless you are a doctor, discussing a medical term for stunted growth, I don't want to hear this word. EVER. A few years ago, yes, it was an acceptable term. No more. And not with me. I understand that language shortens over time. People want the fastest way to say what they want to say. It is very difficult to get a person to go from "mental retard" to "person with a cognitive disability" because it's longer. Extra words require extra thought. However, I don't like anyone to be identified by one characteristic of themselves. If unavoidable, I'd rather it be a positive attribute. Saying someone is "retarded" or "a retard" indicates that they are bad overall. It says that they are nothing but that word. Even if a person is not present who has a disability (even if they are but don't understand), it is not okay to make it okay for others to use that word. Because when it does offend, it is the worst kind of thing you can never take back. As a kid, I once locked a girl with a mild cognitive disability in a shed (with the help of her sister) because we didn't want to play with her. Despite the fact that I was "just a kid" and "didn't know better," I feel guilty for that action every single day. If we make it okay for people to do awful things (and say awful things) by doing and saying them ourselves, we are creating a society built on intolerance. This leads me to my next terrible word.

Gay (and all the words that go with it)

The sentence, "That's so gay," means that is full of joy. However, no one outside of the English department pays attention to that fact, so I don't want to hear it. If you are saying that a person is gay, as in they like someone of the same sex (otherwise known as homosexual), and, here's the part that's important, they ARE, then seriously, more power to you. As my sister says, "I say I'm gay all the time." My sister is a lesbian. See the distinction there? They make amazing commercials about thinking before you call someone "gay" now. There is one where two girls are talking in a convenience store and one of them calls something gay. The store clerk starts saying, "that's so Julie" about a similar something. Since the girl's name is Julie, she gets offended. The store clerk ends with something like, "Well, everyone says it. It's just an expression." If I'm not being clear enough, go watch the youtube video. Gay is not a swear word, not an insult, and not an acceptable way to influence those around you. By saying a person is "gay" you may not be homophobic, but you are letting people who are homophobic say it too. You're creating a bad culture. This leads me to my next few words.

Whore/Slut (and other derogatory terms about women)

These words, whether you use them to describe a woman or a man, in jest or seriously, they make it okay for women to degrade other women and for men to degrade women. This okayness is called Rape Culture. While I won't get into that in detail, a young kid who hears an older kid call someone a whore will probably repeat that word. They may not even know the meaning, but anyone who hears them say it will have one more example of someone downgrading women. Some people actually don't respect women. Some people are on the edge of not respecting women. Some women don't respect themselves. These people here those words, and they use them too. And it perpetuates. It goes on and on until everyone says it, and some people believe it. If that is the kind of world you want to live in, that's fine for you, but don't ruin it for the rest of us.

And it isn't just people. Calling things by these names makes it okay as well. I should stop ranting for now, but please, if you take nothing else away from this...think before you speak. Always.

Reading Along

I've been putting off writing here because I was waiting on some good inspiration. However, I'm reading this great book (thank you Norman Constantine) called "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg which has inspired me not to do that. Writing the worst garbage in the whole world is still better than not writing at all. Therefore, I'm catching up on posts today. They probably won't be good, but you can't get better without practicing. I'm a freaking teacher, after all, and I've been setting a terrible example for my students (who hopefully don't read this blog, but still). Practice what you preach people!

School has begun. In a circuitous way, this has led me to think about language. I had a fascinating discussion with a coworker, Jaquie, today about language. Jaquie is a math person, and she only recently found a passion for reading (math history books, so not my thing). Together, we discussed oral language and change in language and code switching. I had a moment a few years ago that I shared with her, and I'd like to share it with you now in narrative form.

At dinner. With the bf's family. Brother, sister, Mom and Dad. Leg twitching.
As conversations go, they make it easy. A family of artists and you a writer.
Reading currently: Sense and Sensibility, "How to be an Other Woman," Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and a Jodi Piccoult
Brother rolls his eyes. Cock your head. Furrow your brows.
"I hate reading."
Three words. So much baggage. You could cry at those words. You could scream and yell. You could glare at him in shock.
Smart kid. Really smart kid. Creative and funny and full of facts about everything. With a whole family of readers and artists.
"When you read, you see pictures of what is going on in the story..."
"I see words."
"Just words."
Never. Never in your life.
Wait. Remember. Go back. When did it feel that way for you? Six or seven? Younger?
How is it? How is it that you never thought of this before?
If you couldn't see the story like a movie in your head, floating by as the words are translated into your working memory and then dumped, would you even like to read at all.
No. The answer is no.
Brother only sees words. He translates and translates.